- Part 21
[VIDEO] Delicious golden banana cake

[VIDEO] Delicious golden banana cake

If you are of a nervous disposition when it comes to watching mess, I would recommend not watching this latest video! We have always been pretty relaxed about giving Archie cake. We were fortunate when he was dairy allergic to be under the care of a superb paediatrician and his advice at the time was clear. Everything is okay, including sugar, as long as it is in moderation and part of a balanced diet. We know that Archie regulates himself very well so we are confident that over the course of time, everything evens itself out. I guess this is one of the key aspects when adopting a “baby led” approach. And anyway, this cake is full of goodness with a big dose of banana and sultanas. It is incredibly easy to make, always works, is quite forgiving in terms of cooking times (I lost track of time in this one while we were giving Archie a bath and left it in 5 minutes too long) and is the only banana cake recipe I have found which does not come out looking grey and anaemic. It also freezes perfectly, works well as a snack and works even better as the main component of breakfast, served with some fresh fruit and yoghurt. Oh, and it can be extremely messy to make with a toddler, as this video testifies! This was by far our messiest cook in a long while!! Delicious golden banana cake Preparation time 10 minutes if using a food mixer, more if mixing by hand. Cooking time 50-60 minutes. Serves lots but beware, it goes as quickly as...
[VIDEO] Pan fried sea-bass fillets with new potatoes crushed with spinach, watercress and rocket

[VIDEO] Pan fried sea-bass fillets with new potatoes crushed with spinach, watercress and rocket

This latest video is a few minutes longer than usual because I wanted to take the time to try to debunk two popular misconceptions. The first is that cooking fresh fish is prohibitively expensive (I am not saying it is cheap either, just that there are ways of doing it more cost-effectively) and the second is that cooking fresh fish is prohibitively tricky. I wanted to show you in detail how I cook the fillets, just to demonstrate how relatively simple it is… Pan frying sea bass fillets is a great way to serve this lovely nutty fish, not least because it removes the need to deal with fiddly bones at the table if the fish is served whole. The crushed new potatoes with the spinach, watercress and rocket are a great idea and can be served with almost any meal. Archie really doesn’t like eating raw green leaves but when they are wilted into the potato like this, he cannot get enough of them. As you will see, I was feeling a little creative with the presentation. I like to do this from time to time and Archie is happy to allow me a little self-indulgence. Indeed, as you can tell from his spontaneous “wow” when he sees his little plate, I think that putting some effort into presentation really can make the dish all the more appealing to our little ones… Pan fried sea-bass fillets with crushed new potatoes, spinach, watercress and rocket Preparation time around 5 minutes. Cooking time no more than twenty minutes (mainly taken up by waiting for the potatoes to boil!). This meal...
[VIDEO] Ham, cheese and spinach pancakes

[VIDEO] Ham, cheese and spinach pancakes

A very hungry little boy desperate for his lunch – and hence a slightly frenetic daddy – means that this may not be our smoothest video and you will quite possibly be left with two key questions when watching it. Firstly, exactly how many times does Archie say “more ham” in the video? And quite what was going on with the string pull in my zip-up top?! As for the pancakes themselves, I lived in France for many years and to this day still use the exact same recipe that I was randomly given by a charming old lady when I was 20 years old and thumbing through cookbooks in a large book store in Lille. I wanted to make proper French pancakes for my French girlfriend at the time (I know, snow to the Eskimos and all that!), and had two books open on crèpe recipes. She tapped me on my shoulder and told me to keep it simple. “Cinq,trois, trois”, she said. 500ml milk, 300g flour and 3 eggs. Sixteen years on and the urban myth in my head says she disappeared in a puff of smoke. Even allowing for exaggeration, the reality is that her simple recipe has stood me in very good stead ever since. Pancakes are surprisingly quick and easy to make and offer a very interesting alternative to simple sandwiches. They can, of course, be filled pretty well however you want to fill them and are also extremely easy to chew, making them ideal even for younger babies. This batter makes six pancakes. The intention is always to freeze one or two plain...
[VIDEO] Tagliatelle with a pancetta, red pesto, mushroom and asparagus sauce

[VIDEO] Tagliatelle with a pancetta, red pesto, mushroom and asparagus sauce

It would be no understatement to say that we eat at least two pastas per week in this house. We were doing so long before we started baby led weaning with Archie but from day one with him we realised that pasta meals give us the perfect mix of ease of preparation, interesting textures, diverse strong flavours and low cost. I try to vary things as much as possible with the pastas I make. When we started solids with Archie, we stuck to large shapes which he could hold, such as penne and fusili. Now he will eat anything we give him and I would say that no two pastas dishes are ever the same here. They are just a perfect opportunity to enjoy whatever vegetables, meat or fish we have to hand. In the early days, Archie was very heavily dairy allergic and it used to break my heart to have to refuse him parmesan. The soya alternatives are okay but not a touch on the real stuff. He was given the all clear at 18 months old and has really been making up for lost time! As I said in the risotto post, we buy big slabs of aged parmesan at our local Costco wholesale store. Not only does this mean we get deliciously strong mature cheese, it is also way cheaper than even the basic stuff at a supermarket. My little food snob makes me laugh now when he turns his nose up at the dry processed parmesan if ever he gets served it somewhere! He has been comfortable using his own spoons and forks since...
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